Empowerment can be defined as a “multi-dimensional social process that helps people gain control over their own lives by unshackling them from all negative aspects which surrounds them. Women empowerment refers to actions and plans to make women more self-assured of their ability to make strategic life choices”. With this theorem, empowerment becomes central to the process of reaping benefits to women at an extensive level. It involves the action of boosting the status and standards of women through literacy, education, by training and raising awareness. Hence, women empowerment is all about allowing and equipping women to make life - determining choices across different issues in the country. It is a step towards incorporating confidence and self-worth within by making them independent and self-reliant. Born in destitute regions, these otherwise talented and workaholic women remain dormant and stagnant under patronage of their male counterparts.
Today women’s lifelong financial wellness is at a tipping point. Thanks to a seismic shift toward women’s growing personal and financial power, they are poised to move into true financial independence, enjoying all the freedom that it brings. Yet there is still a trail left to blaze. Women are living longer than ever before, and funding that longevity has truly become a women’s issue.
Women empowerment is not a new concept and the need for the same was realized much earlier, even before independence. Not only in India but all over the world, women are facing atrocities in almost all the spheres of their life, primarily based on the gender roles devised by the society. Since beginning, they are conditioned and taught to be enslaved under men, yet another life-dictum formulated for them. Women have suffered beyond extremes all through the years at the hands of men. In the ancient times, they were treated as negligent entities or non-existent inanimate objects at large and were coined as a mere second sex. As the community had been driven predominantly by men, even basic rights like Right to Vote were also proscribed. As the times evolved, women realized the effect of barbarity and began to participate in the revolution for women empowerment. As women were not allowed to make decisions for them, the radical conviction of empowering the homemakers came in like a breath of fresh air. It made them aware of their rights and how they must secure their own place in society rather than being dependent and reliant on men. It came to be recognized as a fact that systems cannot simply work in someone’s favor based on their gender, i.e. men are not licensed to enjoy authority on grounds of sexual orientation. However, we still have a long way to go when we talk about the reasons why we need it.
Most of the countries, no matter how progressive they are and how modern their civilization is, women in gross normality have suffered, oppression, abuse, discrimination, hounding and condescending attitude of male representatives in their families. In other words, women from all over the world have borne the brunt of inequality and disproportionate prerogative thus, making them take a rebellious route to reach the status they enjoy today. While the western countries are still progressing, third world countries like India still lack behind in providing enough standards of honor and respect which must be given to women as a differing species of homo sapiens than men. Women Empowerment is, therefore, an instrumental in establishing an ideological hierarchy and a step towards raising awareness of componential factors pertaining to women's subjugation.
Right to education and acquire professional skill set is yet another challenge that a woman incessantly addresses. Higher education for many is still a dream as other marital and familial obligations are posed right in front of her. Many young girls in the remote and rural areas of the country are married off at a very early age. Men even today, are still a dominating and persona who intimidates the opposite gender reflecting their superiority and supremacy. It’sa woman’s duty to work and serve for males in her family and outside at her workplace endlessly, stay subjected physically and mentally all her life. Men do not let them have their fair share of freedom and responsibility of any kind which desiccate them from inside.
In addition to it, domestic violence is a major and the most prevailing issue in India. Men lace into their wives and abuse them showcasing their mastery over them like a ‘vet for a pet’. Men are believed to have a tyrannizingand domineering voice, more so, because women are afraid to speak up. Similarly, women who do the work get paid less than their male counterparts. Ideally, it is downright unfair and considered as a sexist attempt to pay someone lesser for the same amount ofjob due to gender difference. Thus, we see observe, learn and inherit from the day to day societal behavior towards women why
empowerment is crucial and a pressing need nowadays. We need to equip these women with courage, confidence, and opportunity to speak up for themselves and never to become victimized or traumatized.
It is usually questioned on why we needwomen empowerment when other dogmatic issues like corruption and injustice prevail into the social sphere. It should be acknowledged that conditions have considerably changed in favor of women, but we still have miles to achieve. HRDS INDIA has introduced several projects for the betterment of WOMEN and to uplift their standards in a male-concocted society. We have shouldered the responsibility to empower them mentally and accomplish their dreams and aspirations. Emancipating women via implementation of various measures would lead their lives with dignity and freedom, which could eventually enhance the level of self-esteem and self-confidence in them. It gives them a distinct identity of their own and would set them free from the shackles of ingrained dominance. If women are given opportunity to earn and bred herself and her family, there would not be any insecurity and ill feeling of inferiority as they would equally contribute to the growth of the family and society at large. It is the high time we realize that the country’s resources do not belong to one gender group but to everyone.
In the decades to come, women are poised to achieve even greater financial empowerment and the independence and freedom it brings. Momentum is high, but there is still a trail left to blaze.
The idea of Self-Help Groups is hatched from the benevolent conviction of Dr Muhammad Yunus of Bangladesh, who emphasized on empowering the extremely poor women of the country to earn independent livelihoods through self- employment. Dr Yunus has become a torch bearer in the social mainstream, who set alight the dark and squalid alleys of Bangladesh. Due to his endeavors, he could diffuse golden rays of hope into the lives of millions of poor and down-trodden people around the world.
HRDS INDIA began formulating SHGs way back in 1999 on the ‘Yunus model’ of the Bangladesh Grameen Bank. Therefore, 750 SHGs were formed by HRDS INDIA in the Udumbanchola, Peermade and Devikulam taluks in the Idukki district of Kerala. Besides 2000 such groups were clustered in Tsunami affected areas of Nagarcoil and Kulachal in the Kanyakumari District and 500 in Namakkal District of Tamilnadu. SHG’s are a key element in the rural development and have proved to be an illustrious strategy adapted by HRDS. Each SHG is a team of rural poor who has volunteered to organize themselves into a group for the social cause. Our ultimate objective has been the eradication of hopelessness and poverty of those mistreated. The increasing polarization of men and women is giving vent to a capitalist fervor. At HRDS INDIA, we catch the nerve of the ailment and try to focus on the root cause of the soreness. We believe that before prosperity come peace and that can be attained only when base needs of an individual are accomplished. The fellow men in these regions, who are participants in the SHGs, save regularly and convert their savings into a common fund to utilize their small-scale business. Members of the group also create a common management system to empower the women in their society. Through this sort of activity, function of SHGs can be taken as a representation of women emancipation and liberation.
Formation of SHG gives women strength and courage to stand in unity and be the motivation for each other to work as a team. HRDS INDIA provides the group fund to implement their project on a different scale. Women have come a long way personally, professionally and financially, but when it comes to finances, there’s still considerable work to be done to level the playing field. HRDS INDIA celebrates the progress made, deeply examines the specific financial challenges women face across their lifetimes and offers potential solutions and actions for funding the present and future.
It's basically a small-scale garment manufacturing unit along with a vocational training Programme for the upliftment of the disabled population and employment for rural women. The ready-made garment industry has occupied a unique place in the industrial scape of our country by generating substantial export earnings and creating several lines of work. By providing employment, it can act as a source of livelihood for millions of people. It provides maximum employment with minimum capital investment. This project is prepared for the manufacture of Ladies garments, curtains, bed spread, bed cover, pillow cover as they find wide acceptance in local and international markets. These units trace down the unidentified potential and then provide a framework to utilize the same with support and assistance
HRDS INDIA has launched several projects to wipe out poverty and unemployment. It organizes workshops on entrepreneurship and self-employment and encourages the SHGs to participate actively in these programmes. Some of the projects are identified and strongly advocated by society such as Poultry farming, Dairy farming, Grocery and stationery stores, Fruit and vegetable shops, Ready - made garments, Tailoring, Sweetmeat stalls and so on. To enhance few programs like Stitching Unit and Food Making with SHG members mainly in Attappady, we organize a Surgical Manufacturing Unit which makes Surgical Gowns and supply to the hospital. On the other hand, few groups are providing food to the events by accompanying DDUGKY and making food for the Skill Development centers of HRDS INDIA.